Hello lovely steemians!
It is another privilege to be writing to you on this platform once again. Its been quite a while since I've visited my blog; extra curricular activities has got me engaged to this past few weeks and it contributed to my laziness to write or share informative articles to our knowledge. But thanks to courageous friends in this lovely forum I gathered and summoned the courage to put pen to work once again.
In this article, I will be bringing to our learning some hidden tales and facts we really don't know about sand. Well we might all think we are well familiar with the word "sand" but I will be glad to tell you there are some untold stories about sand which I will unravel in this post. Have you ever heard of MAGIC SAND? Worry less as justice will be done to that word Magic sand. The chemistry and its economic importance will be as well emphasize. Just sit tight, take a cool drink and read on. I just hope your time here is worth spending.
From that word Magic sand, I will try as much as possible to break it down bit by bit so we can comprehend easily. Let's start by bringing us back to what sand is and what makes up sand as a whole.
We can't swim in the pool of knowledge of sand without letting or reminding us about the basic constituents of sand, it's properties and it's percentage of composition. I introduce to us SILICON as the main culprit in the formation of sand.
I know well we are familiar with our periodic table back in our chemistry and for we that have forgotten, let me quickly say silicon belongs to the same group with carbon which is known as "Metalloids". It is mostly found in its ore state i.e it is very reactive to occur in free state. Silicon mostly exist in its compound like SiO2 (silicondioxide or silicon(IV)oxide) and also as a metallic structure in trioxosilicate(IV).
But in this article, we will be putting all our eggs in the silicon(IV)oxide basket because it is what makes up sand. Silicon(IV)oxide is also called "silica" which is found in two crystalline form i.e in pure crystals as quartz and in its less pure crystalline form as jasper, horn-stone, flint etc.
Definition of sand
Now that we have the background knowledge of silicon we can therefore proceed with the unravelling of sand and its constituents. Silicondioxide is the main constituent of sand formed from the remains of plants organisms mostly called diatoms which is a porous material. Going through the biblical realm, it was said that man were created from sand little wonder why if man dies and his body is buried, couple of years later the body decays and turns to sand in which the bones are left. Without disputing that fact, sand can also be defined physically as a loose granular material that results from the disintegration of rocks, consists of particles smaller than gravel but coarser than silt which is used in mortar, glass, abrasives and foundry molds.
Now that we've digested the knowledge and fundamentals of sand, we can therefore build the word magic sand to it.
FUNDAMENTAL OF MAGIC SAND
Generally, a lot of researches actually made mention of magic sand as a toy made from sand but there are more to it because of its economical and environmental advantages. Magic sand is made from sand which is coated with a hydrophobic compound. The sand can be bought or still, one can get the appropriate composition/ingredients and create one. It can be of different colors mostly red, green and blue but in the presence of water it turns slivery in color. Magic sand is also referred to as "Aqua sand".
Composition of Magic sand
Three important things actually made up a magic sand. These are
- pure silica of tiny particles (beach sand)
- silicon(IV)oxide (SiO2)
- (CH3)3SiOH (trimethylsilanol or trimethylhydrosilanol vapour)
Magic sand is also an hydrophobic sand because of the presence of hydrophopic compound which allows the bond of the grains of sand in a cylindrical form especially in the presence of water so that its surface area can be reduced.
Pep talk on trimethylsilanol
Trimethylsilanol is a colorless and volatile liquid which makes the magic sand hydrophobic i.e it retains it solid form even in the presence of water. It is one of the key composite that makes up the magic sand.
Magic sand mostly reveal its distinctive property in the presence of water i.e when it is submerged in water and then sprinkled away, instead of retaining the water its spreads out in a pile of dry sand unlike the normal sand mixed with water would behave.
Formation of Magic sand
Since we know the composition of magic sand, its formation is quite simple
- Start by taking silicon(IV)oxide which is known to be the standard sand
- Add the volatile liquid i.e trimethylhydrosilanol in other to make the silicondioxide hydrophobic
- Add it up with the beach sand (pure silica of tiny particle)
Note: the difference between the magic sand and the normal beach sand is that the former is hydrophobic and the latter is hydrophillic. To cut the story short one likes water and tend to absorbs it and the other dislike and gives it up. Check here also for kinetic sand.
ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF MAGIC SAND
Combatting the spillage of oil
The first and main goal of the formation of the magic sand is not as a toy but as a local means to clean up oil spill. Magic sand has the properties required to trap oil probably on a sea shore which mixes up with the oil and becomes heavy before sinking into the sea without being separated.
It is an eco-friendly method for combatting oil that are spilled. When there is an oil spill, the magic sand can be sprinkled on the areas where we have the oil, it then soaks up the oil and binds it to itself which makes it heavier because of the presence of hydrocarbons of petroleum then sinks to the bottom of the ocean or sea. In other words, it can be adopted to reduce water pollution in which most petrol-chemical industries are mostly found guilty of. But this method of oil spill cleaning was abandoned years ago simply because high profile companies think it was far too expensive to adopt. But I am glad to share with you that 3 years ago the British Petroleum spent about $34 million on oil spillage damages and cleaning. I don't think half of that huge sum can be spent when adopting the magic sand oil spill cleaning technique.
In a nutshell, I would suggest you and I can even adopt the production of Magic sand and we would serve as a distributor to companies needing this service which would serve as a means to make end means and also at the same time reduce environmental pollution of oil spillage. I know someone will be thinking this guy must be a business man (chuckles!). Its actually an idea have been thinking when writing this post and if there is any other suggestions concerning this, please don't hesitate to drop your comment after reading this post.
Concluding on this note, Magic sand could be the permanent and less costly solution our oil companies are looking for if it is looked into critically and taking seriously.
Thank you for staying glued to this post till the very end. Catch you here some other time.
- Ababio, O. Y. (2016). New school chemistry. Revised by Igwe, H. and Akpanisi, L. E. S.
- Magic sand and kinetic sand- c&en
- the chemistry of hydrophobic sand-chemistry is life
- combating oil spills- biovia solution
- Magic sand- wikipedia
- Hydrophobe- wikipedia
- Trimethylsilanol- wikipedia
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